Only last month, the Indian team management had wanted to teach James Anderson a lesson over his alleged scuffled with Ravindra Jadeja. Complaints were lodged with the ICC and the captain reproached the England pacer's conduct in press conferences; no stone was left unturned by the mighty BCCI to ensure justice was delivered. Eventually, both protagonists in the ugly Trent Bridge spat were allowed to go with no more than mild raps on the wrists.
Weeks after accusations flew thick and fast from both camps, Indian coach Duncan Fletcher, announced Jimmy Anderson as England's Man of the Series, for finishing with 25 wickets, the most in the series. Moeen Ali (19) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were distant seconds. India were shot out for 94, crashing to an innings and 244 runs inside three days as England took the five-Test series 3-1 at The Oval on Sunday.
"I think the summer has ended in a good way. We've fought back really well, there's been some good performances through the series," said Anderson. (India lose inside three days again, England clinch series 3-1 Â | Highlights)
There was a phase when England truly feared losing Anderson for the better part of the series. If the hearing had gone against him, the pace ace could have been looking at a four-Test ban. Once cleared of the charges and assured of his team's full backing, Anderson let the ball talk and how. (Dhoni adds more records despite India's poor loss)
Little wonder then, that Anderson, who is closing in on Ian Botham as the highest wicket-taker in Tests for England, is elated. Anderson finished the series with 380 wickets, three behind Botham. Most likely, Anderson will break the record playing in his 100th Test. ('Team India has shamed us')
"I think I'm in a good place with the ball, I think the way all four seamers have bowled in the last few Test has been hugely impressive. It has been a huge group effort," said Anderson as he collected his award, no doubt thinking back of the day when the hosts were destroyed at Lord's and questions were raised on the role of the senior players in the side. (Also read: India lost confidence during humiliating series loss, says Dhoni)
The Lord's loss was soon a blot of the past as Anderson led his side spiritedly. He also acknowledged the performances of the three other seamers - Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan- and said he felt confident after realizing that the bowlers had an edge over the batsmen. (Also read: How divine intervention didn't save India at The Oval)
"We wanted the nicks to carry, after the first couple of games. When you feel like you have an edge over a batsman, it does help as a bowler. It's hard work over a long series, so credit to the guys. The batsmen have done a great job for us since Southampton; scoreboard pressure is a great thing."
Unlike the Indians, England were used to a long Test series. Having played the Ashes, a five-match series was not completely alien for the hosts and Anderson, the fastest bowler from either side, showed exemplary fitness.
"I was worried about the how the body would cope with these five Tests, it's gone all right, so I'll get in shape for next year and see how it goes," he said.
Meanwhile, rising star Joe Root, whose unbeaten 149 helped extend India's agony, was declared Man of the Match. From a turbulent series in Australia, Root found his footing again at home and led the charge for the hosts, piling up two hundreds and finishing with 518 runs, the most in the series.
The 23-year-old right-hander said it was pleasing to get back among the runs after a lean patch Down Under.
"It's always nice to score runs and you want to score as many as you can, but to finish like we did today was really pleasing. We've had to show a lot of character since Lord's and dig deep. I enjoy batting at five; it's nice to score runs and win again," Root said.
"I think I got into a place where I was just looking to survive but I'm trying to put pressure on the bowlers again. It's still very exciting, just the start of being a really strong side, hopefully we can build on this, even though it's a long time until we play Test cricket again," he concluded.